Honorable Philip Jada Natana

The Honorable Philip Jada Natana, South Sudanese Ambassador to the United States

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Interview of the Honorable Philip Jada Natana, South Sudanese Ambassador to the United States by Ramciel Magazine. October 29, 2021.

R.M.: Mr. Ambassador, as you know, Ramciel Magazine is trying to connect the people of South Sudan who are in the diaspora to one another and to the people back home. What do you think are some things that we in the diaspora could be doing to help our motherland better?

H.P.J.N.: When I got here to the United States in 2018, after being assigned as an ambassador, from day one, I said my role here, the first primary to focus on promoting and defending bilateral relations between the U.S. and South Sudan, but I think much more important is the issue of how much we can tap into the diaspora because, I considered our diaspora to be an asset that could be utilized for the development of our country for several reasons: First, coming from South Sudan. I think the good of our diaspora have opportunities they would not have had if they were still in South Sudan. Second, they are also exposed, and they could see how people live in diversity, and for example, here in America, there are many races from different countries. Third, they can practically see how hard people work here in America.

We could use all the skills, experience, and knowledge our people have acquired here and transfer it back home to help our nation. I have the feeling that as the South Sudanese diaspora living here in the United States, they have learned so much that they can take home and not only in terms of how people could be hardworking but how people can live in harmony and try to tolerate each other in term of differences. But also, there are issues of good practices; you know when you talk about democracy and how we accept each other and try to create a favorable climate for everyone so they can have a say in the issues that matter to the people.

But much more important is the investment issue, so much that the diaspora can mobilize from the different spaces, people, or companies interested in investing in South Sudan. So, I think that there is so much the diaspora could do back in South Sudan.

R.M.: Follow-up question: How do we do that? How do the people live here in the diaspora and the rest of the west? How will they get those messages back home to South Sudan? That is part of the mission of Ramciel Magazine. What are some of the ways we in the diaspora could teach acceptance of diversity? What are some of the ways we can help model the value of hard work? 

H.P.J.N.: That’s an excellent question. They can do that practically in several ways: First, the people who are here in the diaspora are in constant communication with their families and friends back home, or in the area which are in the hot-spots, it only takes a phone call to reach those they had grown up with and say no this that is not the way you can do that. There are ways of treating each other. People in the diaspora have much influence among their relatives and friends back home, and people can listen to them. The second way of doing that is that people living here in the diaspora often go back home, for many once or twice a year, and they spend a lot of time among their people in South Sudan enjoying holidays and making up lost time. When they go home, they can hang out with their families and friends from other tribes; that creates harmony. People could see that you are hanging out with the people of different tribes, which is a good thing. I think the only of teaching people back home about diversity is precisely by practically living it. There is always an opportunity when our people go back home, and I think they should focus on that and try to make the best use of it.



R.M.: Given the way our South Sudanese society is currently functioning, do you think that sending money back home—money that is often spent on buying electronics that can’t be used, buying guns, and buying cows that only serve as a symbol of importance—is something we in the diaspora should be doing; or perhaps there are better ways we could provide financial help to our families and friends to use the money more wisely?

H.P.J.N.: Well, I think what we need to adjust in terms of sending money. What you have said before about the money being misused and not being used for the right purpose, I agree with that. As the ambassador here, I get requests from people wanting an iPhone. I don’t have one myself. I know that I don’t need one; so, I have to say no to them.

There is no point in anyone buying such expensive electronics. You probably agree that some of those costly phones are on our young men and women who are not even working and earning a decent salary, and often those items are things we can’t even afford here in the U.S.

Often people get money from a relative in the U.S.A. and feel they can spend it in any way they want. That attitude encourages wasteful behaviors and buying things that are just supposed to enhance your prestige, things like an iPhone and, yes, the buying of cows.

When it comes to buying cows, I do think it could be used positively. Once they buy a cow, they need to be encouraged to move away from just keeping this cow from the thief. When I talk about sharing the experience or teaching of what has been learned in the diaspora, that would be one of the examples. Let’s say I invest in cows back in South Sudan; I will have to hire somebody back there to take care of my cow. That becomes a form of employment. But, more importantly, what I want to do is go back once in a while and be able to sell those cows and turn my investment into something else.

We need to teach our people how to do business in new ways different from those rooted in our cultures. Let me give an example. During those days of liberation, I traveled to one of the towns in Northern Uganda on my way to Koboko. I saw all these traders carrying stuff like clothes and mats on their heads to go and sell it in South Sudan; they wanted to trade with one of the cattle-keeping tribes. I talked to one of the people from that area, a tribal man who happened to be working for an N.G.O. I said, “You know, why don’t you start a conversation with these people and tell them that maybe five or six of them can contribute and buy a lorry to have something like a cooperative shop and take all these clothes and take it there and people will buy from it. Put money together and set up a shop?”

He said, “No, no, you are not thinking like our people. For us, money is a commodity for cows and not the way around. You cannot sell your cows to have money to buy a lorry.” That is the reality which is, unfortunately, a profoundly rooted mentality, but it can change.

You know, it is not just in South Sudan; other societies value cows and sometimes other animals. But when you practically start showing them an example of how you can turn that into monetary terms and you know having money that you can use to buy other things and invest in different ways, I think that will work, that their attitudes will change. But, again, I always emphasize the practical aspect of it because people can learn more by seeing it. So if they see me using buying and selling cows to get things they value, they will learn from that.

 R.M.: Follow up question: One of the problems that exist is the cost of sending packages from the U.S. to South Sudan. Say a person wants to send things to their family back home to South Sudan from the United States, it costs so much to send then it becomes easier and less expensive to send money? Rather than just sending money, wouldn’t it be better if we could send useful material things back home? Even if they then choose to sell those items, at least that would be encouraging an entrepreneurial outlook. Might it be helpful to work with the U.S. Postal Service to reduce the cost of mailing packages to South Sudan?

H.P.J.N.: Well, posting things to South Sudan is a great challenge as I speak to you now; there have been several offers, facemasks, and examples; there is a friend of mine who has an organization willing to help.

Some things need to be shipped, things which are lifesavers, such as medicines and foods, but the cost of transporting foods from the United States to South Sudan is an outrage. So, yes, I mean, we should be encouraging cooperation between the U.S. and South Sudanese postal services. The International Postal System exists to promote such collaboration, and South Sudan is a member of that organization. It is up to our minister of Transport and Communication to work with the I.P.S. There are already attempts by some individuals tracking and transporting to South Sudan. Still, we need the Government to do more.

The Government needs to work on our domestic postal service as well. Even now, most residents of Juba residences have an actual address. However, often when people want to mail things to South Sudan, the recipients don’t have an address or a phone number to be called and told to come to pick up their mail. Addressing this was a subject I discussed last month on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly. During that discussion, I talked about my experience in Eritrea and how their postal services were among the best in the continent. In Eritrea, even if you don’t have any physical address and have left a telephone number, they will call you, and then you can pick it up. Also, you have the option of renting a mailbox within the post office.

These are things in my role as ambassador that I need to pick up with the minister of telecommunications and Postal Service. These things could be done quickly, and we don’t need to wait; it makes it easier for those who want to send something back home, and it is even a revenue-generating activity for the Government.

R.M.: Let’s switch to some domestic politics questions: Given the long animosity between the Dinka and the Nuer, do you think South Sudan can ever have internal peace? Do you think our country might have a better chance for peace if we turned to the other smaller tribes for leadership? 


H.P.J.N.: Thank you very much for this very important question, because without peace you can’t even think of development and all these other things people are sending money home for. When people are running for their lives, nothing works. Unfortunately, after independence and even before that, we have had several very distributing incidents happen between various tribes. You mentioned the Dinka and Nuer, but there has also been violence between other tribes in Upper Nile like Murle and tribes in Equatoria and Bahr El Ghazal. The violence has been widespread and quite disturbing. We have had violence between communities and in places that have never experienced such violence before.

Now, what is the way forward? One of the things the Government has done, which I think is very good, was the establishment of the National Dialogue in South Sudan. This was the first-time people sat together as South Sudanese and tried to look at the things disturbing the country and talk them out. It went up from the grassroots level, and from there, people have been able to discuss their grudges and even look at the root causes of problems, ranging from cattle raiding and fighting over other resources. I think that process of the National Dialogue is something we should build on because it provides solutions that are coming from the people. It is always a mistake for the Government to determine what the people want instead of listening to the people. The Government and civilians should be partners. The National Dialogue process is essential if people are going to work together successfully.

Sadly, some people want to fish in dirty water; criminal elements do not want peace and reconciliation. For one reason or another, some people benefit from fighting and chaos. We in the Government have to enhance and build the capacity for those who are supposed to be working towards peace without fear. Those who initiate criminal activities must be brought to book, and the law enforced. Until that happens, people who feel they can get away with committing crimes and violence will continue.

At the same time, we look at the solution from the grassroots level by having the Dialogue, and the Government will have to deal with those who break the laws and sanction them accordingly.

R.M.: Is the Government arguing against the weapons embargo by saying they need new weapons to create a joint force to maintain the peace? What do you think about the need to import more weapons into South Sudan; why can’t the guns already in the hands of the Dinka and Nuer militias be used? There are way too many guns already in use in South Sudan? 

H.P.J.N.: I think that is an excellent question, but at the same time, it is a tricky question. Still, I believe there has to be, for instance, the peace agreement stipulated that all armed forces should come to the containment areas where they are supposed to reorganize and retrain and then become one national army for the nation. But, unfortunately, most of the forces from the armed rebel group fighting the Government showed up at the training camps without any weapons at all. And I think that process ought to start over. I know that people are negotiating about it.

For us to have an organized army that would carry out any reform we want, we need to say, “It is okay if you want to be a part of the army. You are telling us that you have been part of the rebels’ forces before. You weren’t fighting with a stick; you were fighting with a gun, so show up with your weapon, or we are not just going to take you in to be part of the army.”

By the way, one of the tasks that the organized army is supposed to be fulfilling is disarmament, collecting guns from the civilian population. For me, they should not just be collected, but we must also do something with them. Because if you order them and just put them in storage, one way or another, they will find their way back to the streets into the of the same people. I think that it is a priority for the Government to take measures towards disarmament. This process had already started around the area like in Tonj, Warrap state, and the other regions, and I think it should be expanded to other places.

You mentioned that “the Government is complaining that lack of the armaments is one of the challenges is not graduating the army was the lack of the armaments? Well, some of the armaments had gone to the population. The challenges are that the same weapons the civilians have are the same weapon the Government has, so the army doesn’t have the kind of superiority in weapons it needs to complete its mission. It is kind of a catch 22 situation, we don’t need more weapons, but at the same time, the army needs new and better guns. Some people say, “There should be an arms embargo that will reduce the violence,” But you know, I don’t much subscribe to that as a final solution. It could be a temporary solution that could hold for a while. Still, at the end of the day, if you don’t address the root cause of the problems, whether there are arms in the hands of the civilians or not, if the root causes of our internal conflicts are not addressed, then the people will continue to fight. We have seen that in Rwanda, where more than a million people were killed in a short time by using guns. That’s something that needs to be discussed very seriously, identifying and reducing those root causes?

R.M.: We have a follow-up question regarding the current sectional fighting among the Dinka in Warrap state, especially in Tonj east. Can the Government buy back the weapons from the civilians as one of the mechanisms of disarming civilians?

 H.P.J.N.: Well, the issue of weapons in the hands of the people is a significant one, not only in South Sudan but even here in the United States. People consider it their right to possess arms, but how do they remove them. How do you navigate between responsible people who choose to have arms and those who will not use them responsibly? That is the biggest question that needs to be addressed. Of course, there will always be some voices on both sides.

Regarding your question, should the Government encourage buying back arms from the people who possess them? I don’t think that will be the answer. Why do I say that? When you open up something like that, as I mentioned earlier, I worry about how all these guns came to be owned in the first place.

I will tell you from my experience as being part of the SPLA—and this goes back to the 1990s in the areas of Kapoeta, Yei, and the other regions where a lot of armaments were captured—the SPLA and S.P.L.M. then used to mark the weapons that they used, mainly Ak.47s. When they found a G-3 rifle or guns like that, they didn’t want them because they didn’t want to look like a militia; everyone should be carrying the same weapon. Those weapons that had no use were traded for money, cows, or gold, especially in the area of Kapoeta. So, there was already an element of trading armaments that was cultivated in the people’s hearts. If you now say let’s go and buy the weapons from them, you are encouraging spread. You might buy them, but people will sneak them away, and again, and again you will have to buy them. So, I think what we need to do is come very strongly and say, “Okay, if you have guns, they need to be registered, and that way, you can determine who is supposed to possess the weapon.” We need to have some supervision of weapons.

Authorities have to know who owns and who is responsible for a weapon. We need to ask, “What purpose do you want that weapon for?” But again, this comes back to the issue of security. Many people in South Sudan don’t believe that Government can protect its people. That is the reason they give for acquiring weapons. I think the Government has to reassure people that the Government’s job is to protect them. To do that, the Government has to have the ability to deal with any imminent danger, internal or external.

Talking about external threats, the army must be able to create protective zones in which we have sufficient strength not only to protect our people but also to punish any aggressor who tries to disturb our way of life. That has been done in neighboring countries; for instance, I remember Uganda did this among the Karamoja tribe. That “burn zone” approach is also why there have been no cases of significant cattle raiding since 1993 between Toposa in South Sudan and Turkana in Kenya. The people in charge of the army in the areas around Lokichogio and Kapoeta agreed on a mechanism to protect the people and their property. Providing such security is doable, but people have to move a little bit more aggressively as they go.

R.M.: Turning to U.S.—South Sudan Relations, there is a growing reluctance in the United States to give financial assistance to South Sudan? What do you think will have to change in South Sudan to make the United States perhaps more willing to be open-handed?

H.P.J.N.: We value our relationship with the United States. The United States has been an important ally that contributed in so many ways to the independence of South Sudan and continues to contribute to this day. We value our relationship and respect it. But I think the relationship between our countries can become a challenge because, for a very long time, the U.S. has believed that we have squandered a lot of the money we received from Washington and the rest of the international community.

Now, your question is, “How do we change that so the U.S. can continue to give?

First of all—and this is my personal view—I don’t believe in Aid. I believe in trade. There is a lot of dignity when you trade. But if you only depend on Aid, then you are creating an imbalanced situation. The other day, the U.S. assistant secretary for Africa, Mary Phee, had a meeting with African’s core diplomatic delegations. I attended that meeting and was pleased with the way that she started. She said we have to change the way that we conduct affairs. She emphasized that the U.S. does not see us as objects but as being in a partnership. That will result in mutual respect. We want South Sudan to be in such a partnership. Now, how do you do that when you are not bringing anything to the table? When are you always on the receiving end of Aid?

I think there is an excellent possibility that the U.S. can work with South Sudan, and we have already started. The current situation in the Horn of Africa, especially with Ethiopia, now Sudan, and we don’t know how the case will turn out tomorrow in Sudan? They ask for one million men, and we don’t see how the security officers will react? Tensions between Egypt and Ethiopia and an upcoming election in Kenya, and you don’t know which way people will vote? This is a deteriorating situation that we are dealing with. I think what South Sudan needs to do, and it has already been doing it, is contribute and try to mediate by enforcing the peace in the region. And, we had done that already, for example, when South Sudan brokered accords for Khartoum and various rebel groups.

Partnerships are what we South Sudanese want. I remember this word from our late leader, Dr. John Garang. “You know, in this world, you are not helping because you are helpless; you are helping because you can bring something to the table?” So, I think it is high time that we also talk about our contribution and what we can bring up to the table and in that way if the U.S. see that we can be instrumental in the region, they would be more open, but if we are there waiting for a hand-out then they can say whatever they want to say, and we will have no say whatsoever in this relationship. That is how I see it.

 R.M.: Has the Government in Juba considered approaching American businesses to help grow our nation? If so, can you tell us what discussions are underway?

Well, we have done. The business sectors here in the U.S. are based on the people, the Government might encourage, but they don’t directly make people go and invest in a country A or B. The decision to invest will be based on the climate and conditions that are created; that is first. The second consideration is the issues that we are dealing with, especially the individual sanction that targeted individuals in South Sudan and then the subject of the arms embargo. The general advisory that had been put out by the U.S.—especially if you look at the website of the State Department’s general advisory on traveling to South Sudan—is labeled #4, which means do not travel to South Sudan.

As to the Government, yes, we have tried to approach the business communities here in the United States. In 2019, I remember we had something we called the roadshow. We organized a business week here in Washington D.C. in which we invited people to come and meet with us. We had a number of the ministers from South Sudan, such as ministers of finance, investment, agriculture, and foreign affairs. We created this forum to bring together members of the business communities and engage them in offering opportunities for doing business with us. That was one attempt we did at the level of the embassy. Even last week, I was in Salt Lake City. I had a perfect meeting with the Salt Lake City Chamber of Commerce, who brought some business people, and some of them are already doing business in South Sudan, although not on an enormous scale.

We are also part of the East African Community. Two-three weeks ago, a business meeting or symposium was organized by the East African Chamber of Commerce based in Dallas, Texas. I couldn’t attend because I was engaged in business with Vice-President H.E. Mama Rebecca Nyandeng de Mabior, but we sent someone to represent us. I learned that the Ugandan Minister of Trade attended the event. This is the level of engagement we need, and of course, we are trying to approach American businesses individually. The process might be slow, but people are there. Just this morning, I received a call from someone who wants to invest in water in South Sudan. So, people like that are the people we want to work with. We believe that when we get these people on the ground and the message that will come out from them, we can hope it will encourage more people to invest.

Sometimes, you have an issue of perception whereby people will say that it is hazardous to do business in South Sudan and not just for Americans but even South Sudanese here. But we tell them, “Look here, we are making progress.” We are not going to say that everything is okay and that the country is stable. There are challenges, but the people doing business in South Sudan are Ethiopians, Kenyans, Ugandans, Chinese, and many other nationalities. We advised them that there is a bit of instability but not all across the country. So, let’s start where it is stable, and other less stable areas could see that, too. You know that there is an incentive to have peace; if this happens in this area because they are stable, maybe that will extend peace to others.

R.M.: If I hear you right? You are saying that the idea would be to get the people to come in and start doing business in stable areas because this success will help both spread the stability in South Sudan and encourage the other companies to come? This is a brilliant idea. 

 In many of the communities in South, Sudan men are willing to fight, but women are doing most of the work. When it comes to day-to-day work like farming, preparing food, taking care of clothes, and raising children, men traditionally have not done much of the work at all. What can be done to change that so that men have more of a work attitude? How can that change be brought about? Many South Sudanese men don’t want to work; the women are far more willing to do jobs. The men want to sit around and talk and play their traditional roles. Then, if women work, the men want to use any money paid to their wives to buy cows. At least, that is certainly the case for the Dinka and Nuer.

H.P.J.N.: I think that can change, and I will give you an example; before the independence of South Sudan or even before the peace agreement was signed, there was a lady in Lake State who invested in farming, and she was in peanut farming, and her focus was using oxen. She started in a small way to do that farming, and her initiative was picked up by so many people. The initiative was started by one of the N.G.O.s working in South Sudan, called Norwegian Aid. This Norwegian N.G.O. trains people in agriculture and farming, specifically farming using oxen and cattle. That training was done in many areas, and people started to see what that could do and start to pick it up.

My point is that the mentality of the people can only be changed if one of their own starts something, and they will believe in that. You know, my tribe does not keep cattle, so if I go and show up in cattle-keeping tribes and I say I will use their cows to farm, they will be offended. Because the cows were not supposed to misuse, and that constituted misuse if I did it. That goes with an old saying, “Change begins with yourself.”

I think we should be having serious conservation of seeing that people who came from some of these areas should take the lead in contributing to a change of attitudes. Then, when they do the farming, their people will perceive them as if they were not looking down at the value of the cow but adding the value of the cow.

R.M.: Suppose an American farming company or a manufacturing company, whatever kind of a company it is, wants to invest in South Sudan. Is the Government in Juba prepared to say these are people from a particular community who would fit in nicely with your industry, and this is a place you should invest in training them? Are people from South Sudan different from those in the diaspora, or can they learn to work for money or industries bring some people and send them to the United States to learn these skills to come back to South Sudan. Do you think the Government can support this kind of idea?

H.P.J.N.: I think that would be something the Government would support. As I said earlier, our vice-president was here for the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York. She told us about her own experience of getting her cows that produce milk, and people could see that. So, here is how we can make a difference. But, of course, most of the cows and because of the method of grazing, the long distances, and so on, unfortunately, those cows are not very useful even for producing milk. But when you start introducing something that adds value, such as milk production, somebody adds money, and people could still keep their cows and have money from the milk they sell. So, things like that could add to the changing attitudes. I think I was giving you an example about the Norwegian People’s Aid, an organization that went and brought people from Ethiopia, people who farm using cattle. And these people use local tools that can be used—not manufactured tools— but something that the local blacksmith could do.

First, what you do, you share the experience from the region. Second, have people who deal with the tools that are not sophisticated, not tools that might require being taken out of the area for maintenance. You can also contribute to your local area’s economy because now, the local blacksmith who is in the area can work on those tools, and that’s already an income. That process of inclusion could rotate around to everyone. Then, of course, we can build on that, and how do you build on that? Suppose there is a willingness of an N.G.O. or part of the Government or part of the farming industry to build the capacity to train the people. In that case, it is a practical aspect because it is a win-win situation for everybody.

R.M.: There are many questions about our country’s relationships with the rest of Africa. Let’s talk about two of them:  The first is water and water diplomacy. We in South Sudan have an excess of water; much of our country is flooded. Meanwhile, Egypt is desperately trying to shore up its water supply. How come we are not actively involved in diplomacy with Egypt to sell our excess water, deliver it by way of a canal or a pipeline to augment the flow of the Nile while Ethiopia fills behind its dam? Should we as a country be taking a much greater interest in hydrology?

H.P.J.N.: The issue of the water or the subject of the way is a politically continuous matter, especially to the downstream countries like Sudan and Egypt. Once we want to do something with the water, it immediately alerts them because they depend on the water for irrigation. Unfortunately, of course, South Sudan has not been able to use the water, especially the water of the Nile, to support our agriculture. Almost 100% of our agriculture depends on rainfall. I think the water is enough for all of us; it is only a question of management. Why do I say that? Because of all these conflicts we have had, especially the last war that lasted many years.

Honorable Philip Jada Natana

The Honorable Philip Jada Natana, South Sudanese Ambassador to the United States

 Like I said earlier, water is something very sensitive. I will give you an example; in 2017, in South Africa, there was a significant drought. Cape Town, in particular, and the rest of the Western Cape Province was running out of water. Everybody was desperate for water, and the Government had to look for the solution. The most interesting thing was that there were people who had privately owned water. They were farmers who had dug canals and small lakes that had collected water from the mountains, private lands, and farms. The Government wanted to use that water because of the shortage, but the owners said that they couldn’t let the Government use their water freely and that the Government must pay if it wanted to use the water. And those created issues.

Many people in South Sudan do not want to share our water with other countries. Like those farmers in South Africa, they do not want to help others unless they are paid. They worry that someday we may need that water for ourselves.

 R.M.: The second African issue we want to discuss is Sudan. First off, do you think the military junta now in power in Khartoum will respect the peace accord that was brokered with Juba and the various rebels? What do you think; will they go on the offensive against the former rebels who signed the peace with them, those in the Blue Nile, Nubia, and Darfur? And then we have Abyei. Again, do you think the junta will respect the agreement with Juba? If they don’t respect the peace, what do you think Juba will do, again, especially if Khartoum goes on the military offensive in Abyei? 

H.P.J.N.: The situation in Sudan is very worrying to those in the Government of South Sudan. It is not only because of the problems it makes for the people in Sudan but also because it might affect our oil revenues. We certainly want to have peace in Sudan before anything escalates. Our interest is that we need the stability of Sudan to resolve the crisis on the border and focus on the issues of Abyei. So far, the position that has been taken by the military as of this morning, especially in a statement by General Buhran, is that he is willing to work with the Prime Minister despite what has happened with the P.M. so far. That statement is an indication that all the pressures that have been coming from different parts, including the African Unions and the Security Council, are having an effect. Therefore, there is a suspicion that we will have a dialogue. We are trying to encourage that Dialogue because we don’t want parties walking out of the coalition in Khartoum. But, of course, we continue to do our part, and so far, as you know, none of the rebel groups that signed the agreement have pulled out of the government agreements.

The Government of South Sudan encourages all these parties, especially the signatories to the agreement, that Dialogue must continue because we don’t want this situation to be mishandled. Now, the position of the military leaders in Khartoum has been very clear. I think the African Union and the international community led by the United States plans to hold them to their words because they want to see a transition. After all, what was happening was that the country had almost been brought to its knee because of this disagreement between the coalition partners.

We need to do with neighboring countries and the international community to make sure that the Dialogue continues. Sudan is put back on its road to transition, which is the wish of the people of South Sudan. When we have a cooperative government in Sudan, it is easy for us to address the issues and the several proposals that that Government has forwarded. However, those proposals are still in the initial stage; they have been shared but not yet passed and put into effect. So, yes, there are still concerns. We are following the resolution in Khartoum carefully, and we are trying to see a positive solution that will satisfy all the sides that come out.

R.M.: Thank you, Mr. Ambassador, for taking the time to meet with us today.


Article by Deng Mayik Atem and Kenneth Weene

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